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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

British Watch Brands Stage a One-Day Fair

WorldEuropeBritish Watch Brands Stage a One-Day Fair

Nearly half of the exhibitors had created special timepieces for the event. There was, for example, a one-off creation from Mr. Smith: a 38-millimeter wristwatch with a single-wheel coaxial escapement in a red gold case. It was sold by lottery, with a reserve price of £297,500; the brand declined to reveal the final price.

Many options were considerably less pricey. Clemence Watches of Edinburgh created a version of its automatic Munro watch with the word “Britain” added to the dial; all four of the 37.5-millimeter stainless steel timepieces, each priced at £650, were sold during the event. And Beaucroft, headquartered in Cambridge, England, offered a special version of its 37-millimeter stainless steel automatic Seeker watch; all 25 of the £450 timepieces also sold.

“My hope is, in some respects, that people might discover the brands through their special editions,” Mr. Audsley said, “but also, of course, they will become aware of their other watches.”Inside the hall, an airy ground-floor space often used for antiques fairs and the like, there was quite a line for Studio Underd0g, a brand founded by Richard Benc in Brighton, England. It was selling two iterations of its Pizza Party watch: a manual-wind 38.5-millimeter stainless steel timepiece, priced at £550.

One dial was decorated with the image of a pizza covered in pepperoni, basil leaves and mushrooms; the other, ham and pineapple, which is a very popular, if unorthodox, combination in Britain. (As Danny Blueggel, who bought the ham and pineapple one to bring home to Naples, Italy, said of that variety, “It is a sin but sometimes you have to be a sinner.”)

Fans say that Mr. Benc’s mix of horology and sass — there’s an Underd0g watch with a watermelon face, too — is part of the brand’s appeal. “I like his creativity,” said Rick Kucharz, a British tax consultant who had flown in that morning from Amsterdam, where he lives, to attend the fair.

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